Beit Iba, Sun 21.9.08, Afternoon
14:15 Beit Iba
The checkpoint was very calm. In the pedestrian lines there was a steady, but not heavy, stream of people coming through. Most of them were students from the university. The young men were checked in the usual way - they all came out with their shoes half on and their belts in their hands. The women students went right through the humanitarian line with no checking. Only the older men in the humanitarian line have their IDs checked. We asked a Palestinian why it was that the Beit Iba checkpoint was so calm with a rather small number of people passing through. Whereas, Huwarrah was always more jammed with people and cars. The explanation given was that there were fewer and smaller villages in the area of Beit Iba, and a larger number of larger villages around the area of Huwarrah. Therefore, about 1/3 of the people coming out of Nablus use the Beit Iba exit, and 2/3 use Huwarrah.
A bus coming out of Nablus was stopped at the vehicle checkpoint. All the young men got off the bus and stood outside while their IDs were checked. Other soldiers went on to the bus to check the bus and the other passengers. Each time a bus came through there was the same procedure, which held up the entire line of vehicles coming out of the city for about ten to fifteen minutes.
We heard that there are other exits from Nablus which are more roundabout and take a longer time, but which avoid the checkpoint. Is this something new??